What Is wiseGEEK Going to Do about Google's Panda Algorithm Update?

In February 2011, Google launched an algorithm change that impacted the traffic of many sites, including wiseGEEK. In April 2011, Google rolled out these changes to the rest of the English-speaking world. Our primary focus has always been and will always remain on our visitors, but the impact from Google's change has caused us to take a long, hard look at our site. Although our traffic remains very robust (over 10 million unique visitors per month), we are still committed to constant improvement. As a result, we have developed a new and improved roadmap -- one that better fits the current internet climate.

The Past

I started wiseGEEK in 2003 with a simple charter: to give straightforward answers to common questions. The internet at that time was a different place than it is now. Back then, there was sparse information on a whole host of common topics. While there were plenty of sites devoted to popular areas like pets and movies, there was a surprising lack of clear information about less common topics such as ball bearings and water heaters.

My hunch was right, and we had great feedback from our users; they asked more and more questions, and we hired a dedicated team of writers, editors, researchers and other administrative staff to address their queries.

The Present

Fast forward to 2011, and the internet has changed considerably. The vacuum of informational content online has been filled by hundreds or thousands of informational websites. The goal that we set 8 years ago, was relatively unique, but now there are many who have adopted similar charters.

We have always worked on improving our site, but now we are embarking on some very significant initiatives to ensure that we remain an invaluable resource for our users. Our pages will continue to provide a simple and straightforward overview of a particular topic because we believe that that is what most people want. But we'll no longer stop there. We intend to provide substantially more information for those readers who want more.

The Future

Instead of fading amidst the large number of sites that attempt to address common questions, we are going to dive right back into our library, and dramatically improve the depth and quality of our offering. This very expensive process, which will probably take at least a year, will include the following improvements:

  • Site Redesign: Our main focus has primarily been on answering our user's questions; we now feel that it is time to dramatically improve the look and feel of the site. Our general goal will be to promote an improved user-experience.

  • Article Curation: Every single article on our site is edited by an in-house editor. Most articles are revised at least one more time during their life. Now, we are going to go back and systematically re-edit our articles to ensure that each one is useful, informative and well written. We'll also add section headers so that readers will be able to jump to parts of an article if they are looking for something in particular.

  • Related Videos: We will be adding hand-selected, professionally-summarized videos to our articles where appropriate.

  • Highlighting Useful Discussion Posts. Every single discussion post on our site is moderated by someone on our staff. Needless to say, some posts are more useful and informative than others — Our editors will promote the most valuable posts and demote the "me too" posts to ensure that the most useful content is brought front and center.

  • Related Resources. Every article on our site has links to related wiseGEEK pages, but now we intend to add significantly more hand-selected and hand-summarized links to external sites as well as related books.

  • Related Images. We have traditionally focused on textual content, but in many instances pictures would be helpful. We are going to manually select helpful images for every article where it is appropriate and provide captions.

We are confident that our site at the end of this arduous (but exciting) process will be substantially better than it is now and look forward to hearing what readers think about the improvements.

— Posted on 11 April 2011 by Denis, President and Founder of wiseGEEK.